Aziz Foundation launches major report on British Muslim transitions to PGT studies

26 October 2023

Transitions report final

The Aziz Foundation has launched a major new report examining the progression challenges facing British Muslim students aspiring to undertake postgraduate taught studies.  Entitled ‘Transitions: British Muslims between undergraduate and PGT studies’, the report is co-authored by Zain Sardar, Programme Manager at the Aziz Foundation, and Amira Samatar, postgraduate researcher at Sheffield Hallam University.

Transitions, based on the definitive analysis of a survey of Aziz Foundation scholarship candidates, centres the testimonies of British Muslims in exploring the intersectional disadvantage they experience within higher education. The co-authors also propose recommendations that universities can implement to widen access for these communities of faith. The report incorporates stakeholder reflections on the findings, in a summary from a specially convened roundtable discussion.

The findings from Transitions were presented in a conference hosted by the Aziz Foundation on ‘Widening Participation for British Muslims’, which took place at the University of London. The conference was attended by a range of higher education stakeholders, including academics, practitioners, EDI staff, and representatives from regulatory bodies.

Responding to the report findings on behalf of the sector were:

  • Professor Avtar Matharu, Deputy Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellent, University of York
  • Maisha Islam, Doctoral College Research Lead (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), University of Southampton
  • Alistair Jarvis CBE, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Partnerships and Governance), University of London

In a testimonial, Maisha Islam, who co-chairs a Research England/Office for Students Steering Group on widening access to doctoral studies, stated:

“Transitions represents a cornerstone in embedding Muslim students further into the UK Higher Education (HE) policy landscape by rightly shedding a light on the long-standing inequalities now being uncovered in national data sets. This report importantly contributes to a growing body of literature which seeks to better understand intersectional disadvantages experienced by minoritised individuals, particularly at the ‘broken bridge’ of postgraduate taught (PGT) study.”

Furthermore, Dr Muna Abdi, a renowned Education and Racial Equity Consultant, wrote in the preface to the report:

“The powerful accounts presented here reveals the lived realities that statistical data on student representation fails to capture. Though the numbers of Muslim students continuing onto postgraduate studies are slowly increasing, we must still ensure that sufficient attention is paid to their experiences. It is not enough to invite students into a space if the space itself remains unchanged. This report not only brings these pertinent issues into focus but is also an urgent call to action.”

The co-authors would strongly encourage higher education institutions to consider their recommendations. It is hoped that  the publication will be beneficial to EDI managers, admissions and widening participation staff, academic researchers and policy makers.

The Foundation remains committed to working with its partner universities and the sector as a whole to co-develop inclusive learning environments and increase access to PGT study for British Muslim communities.

The report is now available for upload and can be accessed here:

Transitions: British Muslims between undergraduate and PGT studies (October 2023).

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